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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Apocalypse Overhead

Rapture rescue will airlift you to safety. If you can afford it

The booming business of privatised disaster services in the US goes against the principle that every life is of equal value

Naomi Klein
Saturday November 3, 2007
The Guardian

I used to worry that the US was in the grip of extremists who sincerely believed the Apocalypse was coming and that they and their friends would be airlifted to heavenly safety. I have since reconsidered. The country is indeed in the grip of extremists who are determined to act out the biblical climax - the saving of the chosen and the burning of the masses - but without any divine intervention. Heaven can wait. Thanks to the booming business of privatised disaster services, we're getting the Rapture right here on earth.

Just look at what is happening in southern California. Even as wildfires devoured whole swaths of the region, some homes in the heart of the inferno were left intact, as if saved by a higher power. But it wasn't the hand of God; in several cases it was the handiwork of Firebreak Spray Systems. Firebreak is a special service offered to customers of insurance giant American International Group - but only if they happen to live in the wealthiest zip codes in the country. Members of the company's Private Client Group pay an average of $19,000 to have their homes sprayed with fire retardant. During the fires, the "mobile units", racing around in firetrucks, even extinguished fires for their clients.

One customer described a scene of modern-day Revelation. "Just picture it. You are in that raging wildfire. Smoke everywhere. Flames everywhere," he told the Los Angeles Times. "Here's a couple of guys showing up in what looks like a firetruck who are experts trained in fighting wildfire, and they're there specifically to protect your home."

And your home alone. "There were a few instances," one of the private firefighters told Bloomberg News, "where we were spraying and the neighbour's house went up like a candle." With public fire departments cut to the bone, gone are the days of rapid response, when everyone was entitled to equal protection. Now, increasingly intense natural disasters will be met with the new model: Rapture response...

It was a 10 year old kid that set those fires, right? Not the enforcers of a protection racket.

Of course, there's now a whole new player on the block. The world's biggest private army will guarantee you and yours' safety.

For a price.

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